After two last-ball defeats to start their World Cup campaign, many thought their tournament was over. But they came out of nowhere to find themselves in the semi-finals.
Before they meet New Zealand in the first semi-final of the T20 World Cup, let’s see how they made it to the final four against all the odds.
A Heart-Breaking Loss Against India to Commence the Proceedings
MCG witnessed one of all time great T20 International matches as the two arch-rivals took on each other. Pakistan were bossing the game till the last 8 deliveries before Kohli’s masterclass stole the game from them.
A last-ball loss in such a close game was a hard pill to swallow for them. About 12 months ago, the same thing happened to India, and they found it hard to give their best in upcoming matches.
Zimbabwe Edged Ahead of Pakistan In A Last Ball Thriller
The psychological effect of the defeat against India was quite evident in their next game against Zimbabwe. They looked down and out, and even after restricting Zimbabwe to just 130, Pakistan never looked at home.
The chase took many twists and turns, but at last, Pakistan failed to score 3 runs off the last 3 balls to receive their second consecutive final-ball defeat. After this failure, Pakistan’s semi-final hopes were hanging by a thread as they were 2nd last on the table with 0 points.
Pakistan Kept Their Hopes Alive After A Comfortable Win Against Netherlands
Pakistan had reached a do-or-die situation before facing the Dutch in Perth. One more loss would have sent them back home. The bowlers stepped up in this scenario and dominated the Netherlands’ batters for the whole 20 overs.
After restricting them to just 91 for 9, it was expected to be a cakewalk for their batsmen. However, they lost 4 wickets in the process and chased the total in 13.5 overs. Although it was an easy win, Pakistani batters were still far from their best.
Pakistan Were Back In Touch Against the Strong Proteas
South Africa were unbeaten in the tournament before meeting Pakistan and were definite favourites against them. When South African quicks reduced them to 43 for 4 in the first innings, the win predictor gave Pakistan just a 3% chance to win the game.
However, Shadab Khan had other ideas as he bunted a 20-ball half-century and also took 2 massive wickets in his first over. Iftikhar’s 50 and Shaheen’s double-wicket opening spell were crucial too.
After a rain interruption, their top-notch display of death bowling saw them secure a 33-run victory. Now, Pakistan were dreaming again.
Netherlands Shock South Africa To Open the Semi-Final Doors for Pakistan
Before Sunday, India and South Africa were favourites to make the final 4 cut from group 2. Pakistan team and fans were praying for either of them to lose their final game of the group stages, which looked highly unlikely.
But miracles do happen, and one happened for Pakistan on Sunday, the 6th of November. Netherlands’ top 4 combined to score 142 runs between them as they posted a competitive total of 158 in a pressure game. The Proteas’ choked under pressure yet again and lost the game by 13 runs.
Brandon Glover’s 2-over spell for 3 wickets and Colin Ackerman’s brisk knock of 41*(26) knocked South Africa out of the tournament. Now, Pakistan’s dim hopes turned into a strong belief.
Pakistan Topple Bangladesh to Enter the Semis
The game between Pakistan and Bangladesh had become an effective quarter-final, and both teams could now believe in their chances. Bangladesh were off to a very fine start as they were just 1 down for 73 runs.
But, Pakistani bowlers fought back hard to restrict them to just 127 in 20 overs. The last 57 balls of their innings went for only 54 runs while losing 7 wickets in the process. Pakistan were struggling again while chasing a modest total. They were reduced to 61 for 2 in 11.2 overs.
With 67 required off the last 52 deliveries, Haris came in and changed the game with an 18-ball 31. Pakistan cruised to a 5-wicket win with 11 balls to spare, and their semi-final dream was finally a reality now.
What’s Coming Up Next for Them
Pakistan are now set to face the New Zealand side in the first semi-final match of the ICC T20 World Cup 2022. The match will be played on Wednesday, 9th of November. New Zealand have been exceptional in this competition, and they topped the points table in their group.
However, Pakistan are a big threat to them as they have peaked at the right time. Their premium fast bowler, Shaheen Shah Afridi, looked out of nick in the first 3 games. But he has found his touch now and has bagged 7 wickets in the last 2 games.
Shadab is performing with the bat and the ball, and Iftikhar has been in fine touch throughout the tournament. Muhammad Haris has come into the side like a breeze of fresh air, and Shan Masood has played some crucial knocks. The bowling attack looks well-settled and can blow any opposition away.
The only matter of concern for them is the form of their openers. The Babar-Rizwan duo has been going nowhere in this World Cup, but you can never write off a pair of their class. Therefore, it’s safe to say that Pakistan have got great momentum at the moment, and beating them will be a tough nut to crack.